Explore District 3

District 3 is downtown San Jose, with the airport on the western border and the Alum Rock neighborhood on the eastern border. It includes some of the city’s biggest attractions: the SAP Center, more than a few historic theaters, scads of art galleries, big hotels, and restaurants in all shapes and sizes. District 3 is small but mighty. The historic neighborhoods that grew up around the downtown area in the early 1900s still exist, and much of that old, historic architecture has been preserved.

A rapidly growing area of the vast city of San Jose, District 3 is becoming an increasingly popular place to hang out. Over the past few years, the downtown area has been revived with local art walks, street fairs, farmers’ markets, historic sites, pop-up shops, museums, organically sourced eateries, craft cocktail bars, microbreweries, sports bars, communal working spaces, and local retailers. This place is much cooler than some might think. Here is the short list of some favorite destinations.


Located in the back left corner of the SoFA Market on South First, The Fountainhead Bar features architectural-themed, unique, handcrafted cocktails with top shelf spirits and local, organic, sustainable ingredients. There are also a number of microbrews, along with a carefully selected wine list. Ask for their seasonal menu to taste their latest.


MACLA (Movmiento de Arte Cultura Latino Americana) is a curated art museum showcasing artists whose work is rooted in Latino history and culture. Works expand upon themes and issues of today, bringing a broader, multicultural sensibility to San Jose. This venue challenges and provokes the way people think in a beautiful way.


Serving their own sustainable, specialty coffee (SCAA) and flavorful mix of loose leaf teas, Voltaire Coffee House, that opened in fall of 2015, has a friendly staff and is home to one of the best Americanos around. A mark of a good blend is the desire to drink the coffee black–which is true of Voltaire’s Americano.


Freshly Baked Eatery has been a longtime favorite of downtowners and one of the best sandwich places in downtown San Jose. Nestled inside of a large office building across the street from St. James Park, it may be hard to spot from the street, but the red umbrellas point the way. Hot, fresh, out-of-the-oven sourdough bread is paired with freshly in-house roasted meat. One of the most popular selections is the turkey sandwich, but there are many tempting options.


The Continental

Enlivening the downtown area with local musicians and DJs performing nightly, this 1917 building has a special class about it–from the exposed brick, reclaimed wood, and salvaged metals to the personable staff and ambiance. Owner Sam Ramirez knows how to create a memorable experience, and often can be seen mingling with his guests. The Continental also serves a curated menu of flavorful small bites by Grub Shack on the back patio.


Explore more of District 3 with the hashtag #ExploreDistrict3, or discover all of Silicon Valley with the hashtag #ContentExplore.

Written by Kristen Pfund
Photos by Kristen Pfund and Elle Mitchell

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